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Man sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison for Richmond Heights fatal DUI crash

Data recovered from the Airbag Control Module showed Patrick Johnson was driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Editor's note: The video at the top of this story was originally published in an unrelated article.

A Cuyahoga County judge on Wednesday sentenced 51-year-old Patrick Johnson to a minimum of 15 years in prison for driving drunk in Richmond Heights, killing the fetus of a woman who was 36 weeks pregnant.

“This individual made the irresponsible choice to drive under the influence, severely injuring the mother which resulted in the death of her child,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, after finding Patrick Johnson guilty of causing a fatal head-on collision in July of 2020. “Hopefully, this sentence provides some semblance of peace to the victim and her family.” 

According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, the 51-year-old man was driving northbound on Richmond Road when he pulled into the left lane, crashing head-on against a 27-year-old pregnant woman. An investigation revealed that Johnson was driving with a suspended license, under the influence, and 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Authorities say Johnson repeatedly attempted to attack pedestrians and officials offering assistance rescuing him from his vehicle which had caught fire after the crash.

The victim, who was 36 weeks pregnant at the time, was taken to a nearby hospital where she received life-saving care. Efforts to save the baby were not successful.

Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, one count of aggravated vehicular assault, and one count of driving under the influence. 

On Wednesday, the man was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison under The Reagan Tokes Law in which the judge imposes both a minimum term and a maximum term. The Ohio Department of Corrections will review the case and Johnson’s behavior after he has served 15 years and will make a determination as to whether he should be released. 

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Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a previously published, unrelated story.